Refresh: Finding focus in life.
I was recently talking with fellow alumnus and Turkey dorm-mate Scott Benson (Class of 1993-94) about what we learned at the Bible Institute. We faced so many situations then where we would scratch our heads. But now that we’re husbands and fathers and seeing our own kids grow, what Word of Life was trying to teach us makes a lot more sense.
We’re starting to understand the “why” of the Bible Institute.
Simon Sinek wrote a book called Start With Why (google his TED talk to see more). The premise of what Sinek says is simple: Your life will lack definition unless you can pin down the reasoning behind what you do. Sinek says any significant venture starts with “why?”, and once you answer that question, you can move forward confidently in an often-changing and increasingly disorganized world.
Although Sinek is writing from a secular perspective, his rationale is dead on. Starting with “why” separates a life of focus from a life of confusion. In fact, Paul wrote similar words when he spoke to young Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:10-11: “But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra — what persecutions I endured. And out of them all, the Lord delivered me.”
Paul probably wrote this because Timothy was getting ready to throw in the towel. Paul pushed his young protégé to remember the foundation of his life and ministry, telling him: When you start with why, your life takes on greater meaning and purpose.
The “why” for Paul and Timothy started with doctrine, manner of life, and mission. These were the guts of Paul’s life - the whole reason he lived. Without the truth of God, Christ’s calling in his life, and the principles by which he lived, Paul would have likely abandoned his ministry long before his first stoning, evacuation, or slap in the face. Paul’s “why” gave everything else in his life meaning.
Paul’s directions have a similar application in our lives. Consider this: The times when we are off balance usually aren’t because we don’t know what we’re supposed to be doing — it’s because we’ve made a habit of forgetting why.
Could this be one of the reasons why our attempts at being better spouses, parents, or co-workers sometimes fizzle out, because we start with a task but we don’t really understand the why or how behind it?
Take a minute to think about it: Why am I trying to be a godly husband or wife? The answer: Because that is the primary area where God has called me to show love in this world. I learn to love Him better through those closest to me, and my relationship shows my kids, friends, and neighbors what the love between Christ and the church is really all about.
Now, doesn’t that type of thinking keep life focused, regardless of shifting circumstances? Starting with “why” isn’t just good business — it’s Biblical, and it’s a key ingredient to a focused life.
Scott Foreman is the Executive Director of Word of Life Canada. He graduated from the Bible Institute in 1994 and from second year in 1996. He and his wife, Rachel, then went to Tennessee Temple University, where they received bachelors degrees. Scott was the assistant director of Word of Life Island for seven years and also managed Word of Life’s radio ministry. Scott and Rachel have four boys and love serving the Lord in Canada.